Telefónica’s Wayra start-up community has raised €30m so far

30 Sep 2013

The recent graduating class from Wayra's academy in Dublin

Telefónica’s global start-up accelerator – which includes academies in Dublin, London, Munich, Barcelona, Caracas, Lima, Bogota and Buenos Aires – has revealed that start-ups in its ecosystem have raised €30m in investment so far.

The accelerator plans to recruit up to 37 new start-ups in its latest call for proposals.

Figures released by the telecoms giant’s digital innovation arm show it has invested €9.4m directly into start-ups, which has led to follow-on backing from third parties worth more than €20m.

Almost 300 start-ups have been through the programme to date, of which 274 are still in business.

Started up in April 2011 to support the growth of innovation and technological entrepreneurship, in just two years Wayra has consolidated its position as one of the largest accelerators in the world, operating in 12 countries in Europe and Latin America.

In Ireland, Wayra provides sustained support for the local entrepreneur ecosystem through its academy in Dublin, which has already accelerated two generations of new businesses in a diverse range of sectors, all with great potential and ambitious goals for worldwide growth and expansion.

“The Wayra model of incubating exciting start-up businesses has already proven its strength through the finance of 295 companies across its 14 academies,” explained Simon Devonshire, director of Wayra Europe.

“A total of €20m has been raised in follow-on funding after initial investment from Telefónica, and of the 295 start-ups to come through Wayra’s doors, 274 are still operating.

“In this next call we look forward to welcoming all start-ups, but in particular we’d like to see more start-ups working in the fields of big data and media/advertising, as we see these as two key markets for development in the coming 12 months.”

After passing an exhaustive selection process, the selected finalists take part in the acceleration programme giving them an investment of up to €40,000, devoted mentors, a space for their team to work in at the Wayra Academy in Dublin, and potential access to the Telefónica Group’s businesses and contacts.  

Wayra will take a convertible loan note in the business that they will exchange for between 7pc and 10pc equity during a later investment round. Entrepreneurs will also join Wayra’s investor, partner and expert network in different parts of the world.

In the latest call, entrepreneurs from all over the world have until midnight on 20 October to apply for a place in one of the eight academies included in this call.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years